CVS: Learning The Ropes

>> Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Have you heard about all the great deals at CVS but wonder how to get started? Here's some information to get you on the road to saving big bucks at CVS.

To start earning Extra Care Bucks and getting the best deals when you shop at CVS, you need to get an Extra Care Card. These are free and easy to get. Just ask for one at the register at your local CVS. You can also apply for one online but you'll have to wait on it. I recommend getting one at the store. You'll have the cashier scan your card each time you make a purchase at CVS. Be sure to register your card online at CVS.com to receive promotional emails from CVS which sometimes contain coupons.

Extra Care Bucks or ECBs are coupons that print at the bottom of your receipt when you purchase certain items at CVS each week. They can basically be used like cash to pay for items you purchase on your future visits to CVS. In addition to earning ECBs when you buy particular items, you also earn 2% back for every purchase you make instore or online and $1 ECB for every 2 prescriptions you purchase in store or online. You'll receive those particular ECBs quarterly. Treat your ECBs just like you would cash since that is how they will work for you when you shop at CVS. One thing to remember is that ECBs expire just like coupons, 4 weeks after the date they are printed.

In addition to ECBs, you will also have CRT coupons print on the bottom of your receipt from time to time. These may be coupons for $x off a certain product or they may be something like $3 off your next $15 purchase at CVS. These coupons can be stacked(used with) manufacturer coupons creating greater savings. For example: You may get a CRT for $1 off Aussie Shampoo and you also have a manufacturer coupon for $2 off Aussie shampoo from the Sunday paper. You can use both coupons together on one product. When you receive a CRT like a $3 off $15 your total before coupons must come to $15.

ECBs and CRTs are linked to your specific Extra Care Card and must be used in conjunction with your card. You cannot give these to a fellow CVS shopper to use.

You can use one CVS coupon and one manufacturer coupon for each item you purchase. You can use as many ECBs as you would like in addition to the above coupons in your transaction. This is a new policy and replaces the old one in which ECBs were counted as one of the two coupons per item.

So you've got the information now what do you do with it? Here's a shopping scenario to get you started.

Buy Crest Baking Soda & Peroxide, Cavity or Tarter protection Toothpaste 6.4 oz. $1.99
Use $1/1 Crest Toothpaste from 1/17/09 PG insert
Get $1 ECB with purchase
You'll pay .99 cents plus tax out of pocket and have $1 ECB to use towards your next purchase.

You can then roll that ECB this way:
Buy Almay Intense I-Color Shadow, Liner or Mascara $5.99
Use $1/1 Almay
printable (manufacturer q with Target logo)
Use $1 ECB
Get $4 ECBs with purchase
You'll pay $3.99 plus tax out of pocket and have $4 ECBs to use towards your next purchase.


Continue to roll your ECBs on future purchases to maximize savings.

Important to remember, you cannot receive change back on your ECBs. If you want to buy something that costs $1.50 but have a $2 ECB, I suggest finding a filler item to maximize your ECB buying power.

For example.
Buy random item $1.50
Buy Gold Emblem Oregano .88 cents (filler)
Total: $2.38
Use $2 ECBs
Total out of pocket: .38 cents for two items

For more information about learning to shop at CVS, check out the forums at A Full Cup and Hot Coupon World.

For the weekly CVS ad coupon match-ups visit I Heart Saving Money and Southern Savers.

Another great resource is I Heart CVS.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Happy CVS'ing!

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